Spectators of a world that exalts individuality: the narcissistic society

"When wealth occupies a higher position than wisdom, when fame is more admired than dignity and when success is more important than self-respect, it means that culture itself overestimates the image and must be considered narcissistic". (Lowen TO.)

The term narcissism has now become part of the common lexicon, has become a hashtag, often acts as a frame for descriptions of successful businesses in the various areas of daily life and seems almost a patented term to describe our time.

The time of easy and interchangeable relationships, the possibility of showing off what you are and what you get on social media, the time of form without the contents that certainly make existence lighter, the time of a company that allows you to perform in solos without the need for lasting bonds, all like this narcissistically happy but yet, constantly dissatisfied.

The link between the individual, society and narcissism

Social dimension e psychological they are inseparable: between culture and human being there is a sort of circular relationship, one does not exist without the other, one and the other model each other. This is why each era is characterized by specific personality patterns and the prevailing one in today's society seems to be precisely the narcissistic one. In a society without firm points and guidelines that exalts the myth ofindividuality at the expense of sharing, invaded by relationships played on the net, we witness the unraveling of human solidarity and the success of illusions. The individual, constantly committed to improving himself, to ensure a privileged place in the applicant society, is called to manage the complexity that surrounds him in order not to be overwhelmed by it. Then maybe, this our company besides giving the feeling that everything is possible, also chronicles the leitmotiv of Narcissus: appearing is better than being.

In fact, it itself offers fertile ground, following its excessive development, to those typical traits associated with narcissism:

  • fear of addiction
  • repressed anger
  • inability to establish deep interpersonal ties
  • extraordinary self-control
  • great ability to manipulate functional relationships for their own purposes.

The narcissistic personality

An individual with a typically narcissistic personality presents a pervasive sense of grandeur, necessity of continuous admiration, you can hear it superior to all, unique e special, has fantasies of success and power and use others to achieve its goal. But behind this personality there is aintolerable suffering: something is missing in his inner life that he constantly tries to find in theapproval of the other.

Narcissism stands as defense to protect yourself from the pain of a lack of recognition of the true self and the omnipotence of the narcissist or the apparent independence he flaunts, they only disguise a strong fear of the other who has disappointed him and originally private on the emotional level. It inflates its image at the expense of the real self, it must appear and feeling admired for fill a void. For this reason, the narcissist manages to move with ease in the society of images and superficiality where what matters is being visible or, if we prefer, online.

In a society that questions shared values ​​and disinterested in the true feelings and sufferings of others, feeling good about yourself perhaps means hiding in a photo published instantly the sadness of not really being seen.

Healthy aspects of narcissism

There are, however, also positive sides of narcissism. Strive to build a future worthy of one's aspirations, feel satisfaction for the objectives achieved or, on the contrary, disappointment for a failure to achieve them, experience all this and do not be afraid of losing one's identity and above all the ability to know how to share all this with significant others, I am without a doubt healthy narcissistic aspects.
These are aspects that a healthy society should cultivate. The project at the moment seems somewhat utopian but we can try it: share #arcenistic society #love.


Fabiana Piccinini


* Notes on the author:
Fabiana Piccinini is a psychodynamic psychologist and psychotherapist.
He practices psychotherapist for children, adolescents and adults. He has decades of experience in schools of all types and levels in educational projects aimed at students with psycho-physical disabilities. She has been an ordinary member of Psy + onlus since 2013, collaborates as a psychologist in the School Area and has collaborated on the project aimed at the populations involved in the earthquake in central Italy, in the context of emergency psychology. He gained experience in extraordinary reception projects aimed at political refugees in Italy.



Commitment, psychology, narcissism, personality

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